Only 21.5 per cent – two out of ten – of deliveries in Kano State are attended by skilled birth attendants, a report titled Primary Health Care in Nigeria- A case study of Kano State, has revealed.
The research was conducted by Nigeria Health Watch and spanned across 49 facilities in 44 local government areas.
Presenting the report on Tuesday, the Director of Programs at Nigeria Health Watch, Vivianne Ihekweazu, said the percentage of facilities that offer maternal and child health (MNCH) services is very low.
“Results from the Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) assessed reveal that many seem to lack some component of the basic requirements as outlined by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) minimum standards for PHCs,” said Mrs Ihekweazu.
“However, it is evident that significant effort has been made to improve health services in Kano State, as well as increasing funding to the state’s health budget.”
The director revealed that Kano State is one of the few states allocating over 15 per cent of the state budget to health services.
Mrs Ihekweazu said the results of the monitoring also revealed that there is poor power supply in many of the primary health centres.
According to her, health care services are being performed in facilities with insufficient infrastructure.
“There are appears to be a shortage of staff, especially doctors as results show that almost 90 per cent of the PHCs assessed do not have a doctor. Only 17 primary health centres indicated that a pharmacy technician was posted to their facilities. Only seven facilities indicated that they had an ambulance driver. 35 PHCs said there was no security posted there.
“From the report, it is clear that there are gaps in service delivery in the PHCs assessed and adherence to the minimum standards for primary health care. The resultant effect is poor health-seeking behaviour among patients in the state,” she said.
Mrs Ihekweazu explained that most of the primary health centres offered family planning services such as counselling, and other forms of contraceptives.
In his address, the Executive Secretary of Kano State’s primary health care development agency, Tijjani Hussain, said the health indicators presented on skilled birth attendants is alarming.
He, however, said the 49 facilities monitored could not represent the entire primary health centres in the state.
Mr Hussaini said, “The report shows that there are visible improvements, and this validates the efforts we have been making.”
The executive secretary said the state government is planning to construct primary health centres in each of the 484 political wards of the state before the expiration of his tenure in 2023.
He said 129 PHCs are participating in Kano State health contributory scheme and more will be upgraded to provide effective healthcare services.
According to him, the state is making significant progress based on NDHIS report of 2008, 2013 and 2018.
“The contraceptive use in 2008 was just 0.5 per cent but now, it is 5.6 per cent. Yes, looking at it from national average, it is low, it is below the national average. But, looking at progress, we are making progress.
Mr Hussaini added that the board is partnering with religious leaders and traditional birth attendants to mobilise pregnant women to attend prenatal and post-natal care.
According to him, the board will soon roll out a community health strategy that will involve more community members at the grass-root level, to ensure women deliver comfortably, in such facilities.
The consensus at the end of the launch of the report was that the local health authorities need to re-examine the services provided at PHCs.
There was also the need to re-equip them with the necessary infrastructure and human resource to enhance their service quality and readiness, in order to achieve universal health coverage (UHC).
Other states in Nigeria were also urged to carry out a similar assessment of service delivery in their local primary healthcare centres.